News Archive

10 November 2014
- by
Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)

In its media release (7th October 2014), the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) expressed deep concerns over the acquisitions by multinational seed companies of large parts of SeedCo, one of Africa’s largest home-grown seed companies, operating in 15 countries across the continent with significant market shares in Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

7 November 2014

Abstract: Intellectual property rights, mostly in the form of patents and plant variety protection, have increasingly become an integral part of plant improvement efforts. With the advent of the TRIPS Agreement and the dominant interpretative implementation of its minimum standards, actors who use, conserve and improve agricultural biodiversity are faced with a strong property rights paradigm, which has been thoroughly criticised in the doctrine. However, these critics have not created the advocated regulatory shift.

13 October 2014
- by
Berne Declaration. With the Participation of: Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service, Community Technology Development Trust, Development Fund – Norway, Misereor, SEARICE and Third World Network

A New Report published by a group of international NGOs presents evidence that stronger plant variety protection based on the 1991 Act of the Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991) threatens the Right to Food.

Developed countries regularly put pressure on developing countries to introduce stringent plant variety protection (PVP) regimes modeled on UPOV 1991, without duly considering the consequences on the enjoyment of human rights of vulnerable groups such as small-scale farmers and in particular women.

8 October 2014
- by
Edward Hammond, TWN Info Service on Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge (Oct14/02)

Every year, usually in February but sometimes in March, the celebration of Mardi Gras (Carnival) reaches its crescendo. Especially popular in the Americas, huge Mardi Gras celebrations take place every year in places ranging from Brazil to Colombia, Trinidad, Mexico, and the US.

8 October 2014

UPOV will be meeting in Geneva for its Autumn session from 13th to 17th October 2014. Its Administrative and Legal Committee (CAJ) will meet on 13th October, the Administrative and Legal Committee Advisory Group (CAJ-AG) on 14th and 17th October, the Consultative Committee (CC) on 15th October while its highest decision-making body, the UPOV Council on 16th October. The meetings of the CAJ-AG and the CC are closed to observers.

Key upcoming issues:

8 October 2014

In a letter dated 18th September 2014 NGOs from around the world have asked Dr. Shakeel Bhatti, the Secretary to the International Treaty to reconsider his approach to implementing paragraph 3 of Resolution 8/2013 (adopted in September 2013) concerning implementation of Farmers Rights (Article 9) of the Treaty. Paragraph 3 of Resolution 8/2013 requests the Secretary to “to invite UPOV and WIPO to jointly identify possible areas of interrelations among their respective international instruments”.

8 October 2014

On 5th September 2014, the Congress of Guatemala repealed plant variety legislation that would have allowed Guatemala to accede to UPOV 1991. This legislation passed by Congress in June has sparked massive protests from farmers' organizations, indigenous movements and civil society. The revocation of the legislation also known as "Monsanto Law" follows a decision taken on 29 August by the Constitutional Court to suspend the law based on demands of different farmer and civil society organisations.

For news reports see:

8 October 2014

Civil society groups continue to protest against the Plant Variety Protection Bill, which is modeled on UPOV 1991. Previously farmer, labour unions, religious, political and civil society organisations have had street demonstration against the adoption of the Bill, expressing serious concerns over the lack of public consultation, the content of the Bill (in particular the undermining of farmers' rights), and Ghana's intention to join UPOV 1991. For the latest see:

30 September 2014
- by
IP Watch

Over 50 organisations have co-signed a letter to the International Plant Treaty calling for it to safeguard the implementation of farmers’ rights in the context of joint activities with the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).